KENT COUNTY, Mich. – The difference of a few degrees can mean the life or death for an entire crop. Fruit farmers have a lot of worries in West Michigan right now with temperatures hovering around the freezing mark.
Cold weather can mean the loss of entire fruit crops. Some farms like ‘Wells Orchards’ near Grandville, use fans to help circulate the air and prevent a hard freeze. "Biggest fear is the wind goes down and no clouds and the temperature just drops," says Kurt Wells, owner of ‘Wells Orchards’. “Everything is vulnerable. All the fruit crops are vulnerable to freezing. “
Wells is a third generation farmer who lost his entire crop in 2012 during a hard freeze. He’s hoping the fans that he bought since then will help protect the crop.
"That's why we put the fans in and hope there's a little warmer air up above. And we can bring it down and we can keep air moving so the frost doesn't settle down on in and freeze hard."
The fans try to draw inversion heat from the upper air. For farmers who do not have them Wells says building fires can help. They have several piles of brush ready to set on fire if the temperatures get too cold.